Coronavirus Outbreak: Risks, Symptoms and Prevention
The world is in the grip of a new pandemic due to the emergence of a new coronavirus, SARS-Cov-2 the virus that causes the "novel Coronavirus 2019" disease or COVID-19 for short. The death toll from the new coronavirus in China has now surpassed 1,000, as Beijing steps up efforts to quarantine and treat tens of thousands of sick people and the World Health Organization (WHO) urged the world to "fight this virus before it gets out of control".
This new and rapidly-advancing virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December of 2019. Since then, it has infected almost 43,000 people and spread to two dozen countries as scientists and researchers around the world attempt to understand the new virus and how it affects the human body.
By comparison to other coronaviruses, such as SARS in 2003 (10%) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV - 30%), this new Coronavirus has a fairly low mortality rate compared to seasonal influenza, which claims 300,000-500,000 lives worldwide annually, according to the CDC.
Preventative steps are critical in avoiding the spread of illness. The incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 is up to 14 days, an unusually long period which allows people to spread the virus for up to two weeks without showing any symptoms of illness. It also appears that people can transmit the virus even when asymptomatic and not only through droplets, but also through stool, according to the CDC. This poses a significant global public health challenge as officials attempt to prevent further infection.
SARS-CoV-2 virus multiplies in the respiratory tract and can cause a range of symptoms, according to Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, who heads the WHO's Health Emergencies Program.
"You have mild cases, which look like the common cold, which have some respiratory symptoms, sore throat, runny nose, fever, all the way through pneumonia. And there can be varying levels of severity of pneumonia all the way through multi-organ failure and death," she told reporters in Geneva last week.
"We've seen some data on about 17,000 cases and overall 82 percent of those are mild, 15 percent of those are severe and 3 percent of those are classified as critical," said Van Kerkhove.
Here are some basic facts from the CDC about coronavirus:
Symptoms: Reported illnesses have included people with little to no symptoms and people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
Prevention: The CDC recommends the following precautions as the best way to prevent infection and avoid being exposed to the virus:
- Wash your hands multiple times a day using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are feeling ill.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Do not use cloth handkerchiefs.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
For further prevention, the CDC are currently recommending the disinfection of surfaces with EPA-approved/EPA-registered disinfectants. Strict adherence to label guidelines is important for effective disinfecting. People often use disinfectant cleaners improperly, which can mean they're simply spreading the germs around instead of killing them. This can actually encourage dangerous bacterial growth. Learn more about effective disinfecting.
Based upon proven disinfecting ability against other, similar pathogens, the Federal EPA has mandated a process whereby companies that do not have specific testing against an emerging viral pathogen may make statements as to whether a disinfectant may be used to reasonably mitigate it.
Simple Green products and the SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease):
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Please direct questions about this to Carol Chapin, Vice President of Research & Development, Sunshine Makers, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org.